What is Business Process Outsourcing? How Does BPO Work?

What is Business Process Outsourcing? How Does BPO Work?

What is Business Process Outsourcing? How Does BPO Work?

“What is BPO company?” is a question that can be answered in a very simple manner by saying that “it is a company that does BPO work.” 

The answer, expectedly, would then lead to the next question, “what is BPO work?” or even “what is BPO?”

BPO is an acronym for Business Process Outsourcing, the all-encompassing term that encompasses a wide variety of industries and functions in its fold. It offers process outsourcing support services to clients. What it means is that it takes on processing activities on behalf of its clients, for a consideration, a fee. This typically happens when a client has a process which it believes can create greater value if done by a third party for a fee. As in other business engagements, the deal gets consummated when there is a buyer for a service and a seller offering the service and they are able to agree on terms that might be considered mutually beneficial for both parties. 

The ‘O’ part of the term gained currency because there was a third party involved that would be doing the work. Over a period of time, and as process outsourcing matured, many organizations found it worthwhile to set up processing centers of their own. These have come to be known as Global Inhouse Centers (GICs) to differentiate them from BPO companies. In almost all cases, these processing units are set up as independent companies. This means that technically, the usage of the term BPO is still correct since the work is being ‘outsourced’ to a third party.

However, this is more of a ‘letter’ difference and not a ‘spirit’ difference. Though it is a separate company, the overall management is under the same umbrella organization. Besides, this may not be true in all cases.

To overcome this limitation, NASSCOM, the Indian IT and ITES industry body had suggested that people in the industry start using the term BPM (Business Process Management) instead of BPO. BPM is a wider term and would include not only outsourced work but also work being done by a separate unit of the same company. It would also reflect the aspect of ‘managing’ the work instead of just ‘doing it.’ Some people did start using BPM but BPO continues to be the most commonly used term by most people. Hence, the question still is, “What is BPO company?” and not “what is BPM company?”

oWorkers operates from three global locations, and is well known for its capability in providing BPO services to clients around the world. In its chosen area of specialization, offering data services, it has been repeatedly identified as one of the top three providers in the world.

 

Drivers of the decision 

The following could be the drivers of the decision to move work from a client to what is a BPO company:

It is a non-core activity

Every business has a reason for its existence, apart from that of making money for its owners. Each business has a defined way in which that money is expected to be made. 

An insurance company will make money selling insurance at reasonable rates after an assessment of the risks such that their payouts and operational expenses are less than their revenues.

A car maker will make money selling cars that they build, or assemble, with the help of many parts and components that they source from suppliers. Thus, they are already used to outsourcing, though sourcing of parts of product outsourcing and not process outsourcing.

A hotel will make money selling its rooms and F&B products and services such that it earns more than they spend on maintaining their facility and providing the services.

The same is true for many other industries.

From time to time, they will be called upon to perform tasks which run the risk of distracting them from their core activity. This could even be a perennial activity. The insurance company might need to set up a Call Center to service its growing customer base. The car maker might need to  

It does not possess the skill sets

In a way this is related to the earlier point, of being a non-core activity. A manufacturing company might hire engineers, a hospital might hire nursing and medical staff, a legal firm might hire lawyers, an accounting firm might hire accountants as their primary resource. These employees are perhaps adept at the work they have been hired for.

However, should the need arise for activities outside their core skill-set, like data entry in an Excel sheet, or tagging images for Machine Learning, they will be found wanting. Not just wanting, also unwilling. If they were willing, they could be taught, as these skills are taught by what is a BPO company to their staff. So, effectively, the company does not possess the skill-set to do many of these activities inhouse.

A related consideration is the potential impact on its regular business activities. If insurance sales people started doing Excel data entry, who will do insurance sales?  

Others can do it better

This is the value proposition. Inability to do an activity inhouse only holds value when there is an external party who can do it either better, or cheaper or create value in some other form. If none were present, the company with the need would perforce have to create the skills and infrastructure to be able to do it inhouse, blurring the distinction between what is BPO company and what is not.

However, the existence of what is a BPO company comes to the rescue here. These companies are geared to offer services that many large corporations, or even smaller ones, would like to outsource for either or both the reasons shared earlier. They have created an infrastructure for providing these skills. Like oWorkers, for example.

oWorkers is a contributing member of the communities it operates in. This makes it a preferred employer and drives in walk-in jobseekers right through the year. This creates a ready source for fulfilment of manpower requirements of the projects it handles for clients, whether fresh or replacement. It even creates the flexibility to cater to staffing for peaks and troughs in client volumes. This is a significant benefit as it saves the client the expense of carrying peak level staff through the year. The ability to right-staff is supported by its training team that fulfils the skilling requirement for enabling an employee to work on a client project. Their training capability enables them to hire relatively low-skilled staff and train them up, keeping salary costs in control. The knowledge that has been transitioned from the client to oWorkers via the transition or project teams.

With its partnership with a number of IT companies, oWorkers accesses cutting edge technologies and deploys them for client delivery. This way its clients also get the benefit of current technologies. We are GDPR compliant and ISO (27001 :2013 & 9001:2015) certified.

 

What is a BPO company – industry view

One of the definitions used for a Central Bank in an economy is that it acts as a bank for banks. It Takes in deposits from banks and lends money to them. It is kind of a banker of last resort.

From the industry perspective, BPO could be viewed as something similar. Of course, we will need to ignore a fundamental difference that a Central Bank is usually a statutory body, a kind of a quasi- governmental undertaking, while a BPO company is another commercial organization, interacting with other commercial organizations.

As companies in different industries have gone about doing their business, they have realized that they have to perform many activities and tasks that they are not equipped to handle as effectively. Here they have been supported by the emergence of what is a BPO company that specializes in many tasks that they are not able to do. It could be handling their Call Center operations, or monitoring their social media handles, or replying to their chat messages, or converting legacy information into digitized content, there are a host of such activities.

Moreover, since there are many companies who seek to outsource that work, the vendors come into a position where they can consolidate the work across different clients and create excellence in that activity. They could even develop the ability to invest in technology as a result of the application of the technology being across multiple clients. A single client, for that work, would never have been able to invest in technology or process enhancement measures.

So, in the first instance, the services offered by what is a BPO company led to the establishment of an industry, known as the BPO industry. Many such vendors became a part of this industry, distinct from the Shipping, or Banking, or Travel, or Airline, or Pharmaceutical industries that have been in existence for a long time. Some also like to refer to it as the ITES, or Information Technology Enables Services, industry. Either way, it managed to establish an identity for itself. 

In the early days, the identity of these providers used to be fluid. When they spoke to a bank, they became specialists in banking services. When they pitched to a pharmaceutical company, they made themselves out to be specialists in that industry. 

However, with time, and the growth of the industry, has come some amount of crystallisation of identity. This also got coupled with the tendency to create finer and finer niches and segments as something matures. BPO has been no different. It is likely that now we will find BPO providers who specialize by industry. Some might position themselves as specialists in catering to one particular industry and a set of others might specialize in another industry.

 

What is a BPO company – functional view

A similar process has been under way on the functional side. 

As companies in different industries have gone about doing their business, they have realized that they have to perform many activities and tasks that they are not equipped to handle as effectively. They might need to do hiring, which they don’t have much experience in. They would need to comply with financial and taxation related regulations which their engineers and bankers are ill equipped to do. They might need to carry out maintenance of the facilities they operate from, and abide by municipal guidelines on fire safety and other health and safety related issues. These could also give them sleepless nights as this is not something their knowledge and experience equipped them to do.

Here too, they have been supported by the emergence of what is a BPO company that specializes in many tasks that they are not able to do. 

Again, as there are many companies that seek to outsource these services, the provider is well placed to consolidate and invest in technology and process improvement initiatives. There would also be a tendency to create niches based on capability and knowledge, to position themselves more strongly. The trade-off, as usual, is between having a diffused presence in a wide market or a sharply focused presence in a small market. To each their own strategy.

 

How does BPO work

Simply stated, a BPO engagement is like any other business engagement. There are two parties to the arrangement, a client and a provider. As it is a B2B engagement, it often requires several rounds of discussions to come to reach agreement. The client specifies the services they want and in what manner. The competing providers showcase their capability and make an effort to convince the client that they will be able to create the greatest value for their business. The terms and conditions of the arrangement are worked out, the client makes a choice and offers the business to one of the bidders, while keeping one or more as backups for the eventuality that the original vendor agreement does not work out for some reason. Usually there are two levels of contracts. There is one overall, overarching agreement, generally known as a Master Service Agreement (MSA), that defines the main or broad contractual obligations of each party. A second layer of contracts works under the MSA and are known as Statements of Work (SOWs). These are drawn up at the level of a service or a project that is unique to the relationship and defines in greater detail how it will be executed. For every new service agreed, which is unique, a new SOW will be drawn up. 

 

Get the oWorkers advantage

oWorkers is led by a team with over twenty years of hands-on experience in the industry. In the eight years we have been in existence, we have transitioned over a hundred client projects. Our clients from the US and Western Europe report savings of almost 80% after outsourcing to us. 

oWorkers is your answer to the “what is BPO company” question.

Hybrid Workforce Likely to be the Model of Choice for Most Companies

Hybrid Workforce Likely to be the Model of Choice for Most Companies

Hybrid Workforce Likely to be the Model of Choice for Most Companies

The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the world in some fundamental ways. One of them is regarding the place of work.

For long, a clear separation between work and non-work places has been understood to be the optimum strategy for a productive workforce. In fact, many companies in the Business Process Outsourcing industry have explored the possibility of introducing a work-from-home (WFH) option many times in the past. However, for one reason or another, usually related to possible data security and privacy issues and the clients’ reluctance in being served by a widely dispersed organization, such moves have amounted to nothing. What did happen, though, is that hub-and-spoke models got established as a method of expansion into geographies that could not support large centers. That being said, the spoke was still another office location, not an ‘anywhere’ site.

oWorkers has traditionally operated out of its centers in three of the most sought-after locations for BPOs in the world. With the onset of the pandemic, it has created capabilities to enable its employees to work from home.

 

BPOs rise to the challenge

With the pandemic resulting in non-negotiable lockdowns and restrictions, work related activities came to a grinding halt as it meant a bar on traveling to a place of work, except for exempt emergency services. In such a situation, it became necessary to explore other options for work, if the company did not want to see its revenues dwindle down to nothing. Many industries, such as airlines and hotels, have been severely impacted, dependent as they are on people traveling, moving around and socializing.

The BPO industry rose to the challenge when it mattered most and ensured that the business of their clients that they were responsible for, could continue. 

oWorkers has been amongst the leaders in equipping its staff to be able to work from home, ensuring that the business of their clients stays unaffected. Not for nothing is the company feted as one of the top three BPO providers in its category, in the world.

 

Technology is the enabler

Of course, nothing stays the same forever. Earlier hesitation in permitting working from home might have been a wise decision for the times and tools available at the time. The acquiescence of business leaders today is perhaps based on the capabilities of today’s technology.

Collaboration tools

With the proliferation of the internet to the darkest corners of the world and ballooning bandwidth available to users, virtual meeting technologies have become commonplace. These collaboration tools are unifying remote workers under the umbrella of their employer, that might have been difficult just five years back. With cameras turned on, even keeping a virtual eye on their teams is now possible for supervisors.

Thanks to the partnerships with leading technology companies that oWorkers has nurtured, it is now in a position to access the latest technologies from these companies, and use them for client projects. It also helps that a number of its clients are technology companies.

Data security

Secure exchange protocols are making it possible for customer data to be shared as well as transactional information to be worked upon without fear of theft or misuse. Even financial information sharing is par for the course today.

Operating out of secure facilities, the security of data has been a top concern of oWorkers. Clients have trusted its super secure facilities & protocols designed to keep data secure, further augmented by its ISO certifications (27001:2013 & 9001:2015). oWorkers is also GDPR compliant.

Cloud solutions

With the cloud becoming an increasingly visible presence, employees are no longer tethered to a server accessible in a particular physical location. Cloud servers and cloud computing solutions can be accessed from anywhere, any time, and are seamlessly connecting teams spread throughout the world. Network utilization is being constantly monitored by network optimization tools, silently, unobtrusively, in real time.

Thanks to its investments in technology infrastructure, oWorkers is in a position to offer a 24×7 operating environment to its clients.

 

Present state

With some sort of normalcy returning to the world, and pre-pandemic like interactions becoming possible, companies are unsure in terms of the appropriate staffing model to adopt. And understandably so, since none of us have been here before. Like all of us discovered coping and handling mechanisms for the pandemic together, companies are destined to experiment, make some mistakes, and figure out their own right model along with others.

The Great Attrition has already impacted many companies during this phase of experimentation. Clearly, the pandemic has given cause to employees to evaluate their life and situation and it appears that they are likely to make their employment choices with greater care and caution than might have been the case earlier. This will make it necessary for employers to take their preferences into account while charting out their strategy for work, whether from the workplace or from home.

As a preferred employer, oWorkers draws the best talent in the catchment area, in each of its centers. This has enabled it to offset the impact of the Great Attrition, without any impact on its clients. Working with employed staff, and not freelancers and contractors that are preferred by some of its competitors, is an advantage for oWorkers as it is able to take them into confidence and discuss the development of a suitable strategy with them.

 

Future state

At this point in time, even as companies experiment with models, it does not take a genius to figure out that WFH is here to stay. The question that each company may need to answer for itself is: what role does WFH play in their ongoing staffing and manpower planning strategy?

A digital-first strategy, where possible, is likely to be the strategy of choice.

We are also likely to see the emergence of an ecosystem for supporting the new work environment, with new centers designed to support the hybrid model. Hiring, Training, Onboarding functions will probably need newer versions of themselves. HR and IT support systems will also need to evolve to keep pace. Terms of employment could be another area that could be impacted, with greater choice given by employers to their employees to choose the model they are most comfortable with.

oWorkers closely monitors developments both in the BPO industry as well as the industries of its clients, with the help of a management team that has significant hands-on experience themselves. Its operational efficiencies are well known, as it is able to offer some of the sharpest pricing in the industry, including the provision of choice to clients between output and input-based pricing. Clients can continue to expect huge savings when they sign up with oWorkers for outsourcing, in any of the 22 languages they support.

What is BPO and its pros and cons

What is BPO and its pros and cons

What is BPO and its pros and cons

BPO is an acronym for Business Process Outsourcing.

As the name suggests, it refers to the engagement when a business, since we are referring to business processes, engages, or contracts, another business, for the purpose of getting them to handle some of their processes.

According to Techopedia, “Business process outsourcing (BPO) involves using a third-party provider company for any business process that could otherwise be done in-house, especially those considered “non-primary” business activities and functions.

Examples include the outsourcing of payroll, human resources (HR), accounting and customer/call center relations, as well as various kinds of data gathering, front-line service work, among others.

Some types of BPO are also known as information technology-enabled services (ITES).”

 

Evolution of BPO 

While attempting to understand what is BPO, it would be relevant to also look at its journey and the path it has traversed over the years.

A free market creates a competitive business environment. Each business makes an effort to open up a distance between itself and its competitors in an effort to maximize the profits and returns over a long period of time.

This is done through strategies that either increase the revenue or reduce its expenses so that the gap between the two, known as profit, that is attributable to its owners or shareholders, is increased. This is, of course, a simplistic view, more for the purpose of illustration, as the real world is complex and there are multiple variables at play at all times that determine the success or failure of a business.

BPO fits in with the cost reduction part of strategy in most companies.

As consumer franchises started growing, mostly in the western world to begin with, it created a pressure on manpower and real estate. Till then, businesses were used to operating out of real estate, depending on their pockets, in the big cities as that is where most business was generated from. With a rise in volumes, faced with the prospect of renting more real estate and hiring more expensive workers in the big city, companies stated exploring hiving off activities that were neither customer-facing nor needed to be done in real time, so that downtown real estate could be optimized and instead those activities could be done from a location that was not far off, perhaps only at an arm’s length, but much cheaper with access to lower-cost workers.

Businesses kept growing, as did competition. With the success of the initial outsourcing, and no longer having to clarify what is BPO to naysayers, the appetite for setting up processing further afield had developed, aided by the growth in air transport networks and supporting businesses like couriers, leading to the next phase of growth.

The growth had also given rise to a specialized kind of company that had expertise in business processing activities. Some specialized in activities like Contact Centers, while others offered a wider variety of services. Many companies have found value in not merely hiving off the non-customer facing and non-time critical elements of their processing, but to engage a BPO company that is often able to deliver better value than they would get by doing it themselves.

With the growth of telecommunications and related technologies, the dependence on physical documentation moving from one place to another also reduced. Source documentation could be scanned across to the processing center enabling work to be done without having physical documents available. This paved the way for anywhere processing which is what we have seen grow over the last 30 years or so, gradually penetrating to underserved geographies around the world in step with the expansion of the internet network.

With a pedigree of over 8 years, led by a team of professionals with over 20 years of hands-on experience, oWorkers is a credible player in the BPO space, especially adept at working on modern business processes.

 

What is BPO and the benefits it delivers

Cost Control

As we have seen, expansion of consumer franchises led to a substantial increase in processing activities and the need for more manpower and real estate. With the help of outsourcing, companies were able to keep these costs in check and deliver value to customers and owners.

At oWorkers, our clients, especially from the US and Western Europe, consistently report savings of up to 80% when they engage us for their BPO requirements. They also find our pricing strategy, where we give them a dollar per unit of output and a dollar per unit of input price, and ask them to choose the one they prefer, unique and beneficial.

Technology

Technology, as we know, is the facilitator of the BPO industry. What is BPO to some is ITES, or Information Technology Enabled Services, to many others.

An individual business may not have the resources or interest in investing in technology for improving its business processes. However, a BPO company, which is able to bring volumes of multiple clients together, develops the heft as well as interest, it is their core business after all, to invest in technology, leading to enhancement of processing efficiency.

oWorkers has forged lasting relationships with major technology providers. This enables us to access cutting-edge technologies for client needs. Clients benefit as it is their projects this technology is used on.

Speed of processing

With centers mushrooming around the world, outsourcing can result in faster processing and shorter turnaround times. Time zones around the world act as natural speed enhancers. When the outsourcer shuts down for the day, the partner is starting work for the day. When they finish their day, the client is about to begin the next day at work. They find that yesterday’s work has been completed while they were sleeping.

In addition, many BPOs make it a point to ensure they are equipped to operate on a 24×7 schedule, if a client project requires it. oWorkers is equipped to operate 24×7 in all its three global centers.

Access to human resources

Each business expects its employees to be knowledgeable and experienced in ways that are conducive to delivering better products and services and creating value for shareholders. Each successful business has to often perform a variety of different functions, requiring different skills and knowledge in the people who carry them out.

For processing activities, often performed in large volumes, the level of skill and knowledge required is often different from the core functions of the company. It often leads to conflict in terms of hiring and training the right people, or ends up being uncompetitive in terms of cost. Hiving it out to a company that specializes in hiring and training resources that are suitable takes away a basic challenge from the principal.

As a preferred employer in all our delivery locations, oWorkers has access to the choicest talent. In fact, we even save money on hiring as we do not need to advertise, as we get a steady stream of walk-in applications in our centers. Our access to talent also enables us to handle short-term peaks for clients, which saves them money as they do not need to retain resources the rest of the year for the purpose of handling spikes. We can hire almost a hundred additional resources within 48 hours.

Though the industry was not well known a few years back, with our efforts, the ‘what is BPO’ question from jobseekers has more or less been answered.. They know what the industry is all about and they have been witness to its growth.

Specialization

The company that is outsourcing can continue to specialize in its core business while actually engaging another specialist who can, arguably, perform those activities in a more professional and efficient manner. Thus, it is a win on both sides.

In a competitive world, it is important to stay sharp with one’s core business rather than being distracted by activities that are in the nature of support.

oWorkers provides a wide variety of offerings in the broad area of data related services, to many clients from all over the world. We have been selected as one of the three top providers of BPO services in our chosen area of work.

Globalization of economic benefits

BPO has been a catalyst in globalization and delivering economic gains to many less privileged communities around the world. By moving processing activities to the most economically efficient locations, it distributes economic welfare around the world and draws marginalized communities into the technology revolution sweeping across the world. No wonder that political leaders are willing to give concessions to companies for setting up BPO processing facilities in their geography, as it will promote job growth.

Your work enables oWorkers to employ a few more people from the less fortunate communities we work with, and give them an entry ticket to the digital economy of the world.

Partnership for supporting growth

In their quest for growth, which is an imperative for all businesses, they look for partnerships that enable growth, and not block it.

A BPO partner is a good example. In a bid for growth, with a capable partner, a company has a much shorter worry list compared to what it might have if it did not have a BPO partner. Now it knows the BPO partner will make arrangements to provide support for the growth, as it is their core business.

For example, with its proficiency in 22 languages, oWorkers is well equipped to support the growth of its clients’ business even across multiple geographies and in multiple global languages.

 

What is BPO may be anathema to some

Occasionally noises erupt against companies outsourcing their business processes. These are normally ranged around two parameters:

Loss of jobs

This has been one of the shrillest cries against outsourcing business processes.

People who have never questioned buying Japanese cars and athletic shoes made in Bangladesh, suddenly become patriotic and start believing that globalization of business is bad for them and that they are entitled to keep their jobs doing business processes even though someone else might be able to do it better, faster, cheaper.

It cannot be denied that jobs will be lost in one place and gained in another. Hopefully, like water finding its path through the lowest areas, this is also a natural process meant to attain economic equilibrium.

oWorkers creates jobs for the less privileged, wherever it operates. It often receives invitations from political leaders from around the world for setting up delivery facilities.

Data security

Information is critical to a business. Information about products and services. Information about their customers. Information about the competitive landscape as well as competitors. All these are variables in the strategy that the company keeps refining in a bid to stay ahead.

Outsourcing requires vital information to be shared with the provider, otherwise how is processing to be done. While it is minimized, it cannot be eliminated altogether. While it cannot be guaranteed, beyond technology solutions for security, it is often argued that data security is subject to the integrity of individuals, the likelihood of which is as much or as little if the client were to process it themselves.

There could also be conflicts with national policies. Some countries may want to retain certain information on servers physically within the country. These have to be handled on a case-to-case basis.

Besides being GDPR compliant, which is a requirement as we operate from the Eurozone, oWorkers operates out of super secure facilities that are ISO (27001:2013 & 9001:2015) certified. We also offer physical segregation of projects through access control, if required.

Conveying the client’s brand and voice

This is particularly true when processing activities require an interface with the external world, such as customers. Each company has an ethos, an image that they project to the external world. When you outsource, do you compromise on that face, that brand value?

While there is no single or simple answer, it normally involves working with each other and narrowing the gap in that projection, if any, and ensuring consistency.

With the help of a dedicated training team, all new hires are required to undergo training before starting work on a client project. Training can vary from one client to another. Where the project has a front-facing role that would be visible to the external world, the training is much more detailed and covers all aspects of such an interface. Besides, refreshers are provided from time to time to ensure that staff is always updated.

 

Final Word

What is BPO is no longer the question. The answer is now well known.

When do we go the BPO way or which BPO to partner with may be the more relevant questions today.

oWorkers counts many unicorn marketplaces amongst its global clients. We hope you will choose oWorkers, as have many businesses around the world.

What does the future of business process outsourcing look like?

What does the future of business process outsourcing look like?

What does the future of business process outsourcing look like?

“I look to the future because that’s where I’m going to spend the rest of my life.”

This quote is attributed to George Burns. The American comedian.

There could, perhaps, not be a better fitting quote for a business. Set up on the promise of what they can achieve, in the future that is going to unravel from that moment onwards, while they keep an account of the past, businesses must necessarily keep looking at the future every moment of their existence. Each moment presents a risk, as well as opportunity. What has happened has happened. They can only do it differently in the future, not in the past, not in the present either. While business schools may teach it as the ‘Sunk Cost’ principle, every businessperson worth his/ her salt knows this intuitively. The future is all that really matters.

The need to stand on tiptoe and peer out over the horizon into the future is a requirement for every business. They need to make an effort at understanding and even foretelling the future, as that is often the difference between success and failure. If Kodak had understood the future better and could better foretell the march of digital technology, they may not have been a part of history today. Facebook understood the oncoming age and created a platform that rode the internet backbone and launched the social media revolution.

With a laser focus on its chosen area of work, data based BPO services, oWorkers has stepped directly into the future of the BPO industry. Eight years old oWorkers is already recognized as a leader in its chosen space, and counted amongst the top three BPOs, bar none, in the world.

 

What about the future of business process outsourcing?

As an industry, it has continued to evolve and stay relevant over the past many decades. It provided support when businesses wanted to outsource processes away from expensive real estate in downtown customer centers when volumes started rising. It provided support when communication and air connectivity enabled taking business processes further into the country. It provided support both in the form of inhouse providers as well as third party providers. It provided support when the industry looked overseas for support. It provided support when the range of services grew beyond the basic and created solutions for specialized and complex services such as HR, Legal and Knowledge Process Outsourcing.

It has taken to post-digital evolutions like a duck to water. Many of the business processes that create a large volume of work for providers were not even a distant dream when BPO services started going over the expanding internet and telecommunications to far flung providers.

While oWorkers may have made educated and knowledgeable projections of the future, their work is not finished. There is always a future up ahead that we need to keep looking into and planning for. They are preparing for the future by putting the building blocks of a successful BPO in place, such as access to manpower. With their position in the local centers as preferred employers, oWorkers attracts a steady stream of talent. It not only saves them advertising budgets for inviting people, it also provides a ready pool of talent for all projects.

So, what does the future of business process outsourcing look like, for the industry as well as its participants like oWorkers?

 

The future in numbers

Since BPO is not a homogeneous industry, numbers can vary from one perspective to another and from one consultant to another.

However, whichever way you look, the industry has notched up impressive growth numbers if we look at historical trends and, even more importantly, is expected to continue to show strong growth numbers well into the future.

Most analysts seem to agree that the market size translates to hundreds of billions of dollars globally. Also, its growth rate, or CAGR (compounded annual growth rate) estimates range from 5% to 8.5%.

A Gartner study published in August 2019 forecasts the BPO industry to grow at a CAGR of 3.5% till 2023 over its then size of $154 billion, with digital services, robotic process automation and artificial intelligence being the key drivers.

A Fact.MR report published in March 2020 projects an impressive 7.5% CAGR growth rate. They expect customer complaint redressal solutions to be one of the drivers of the growth.

A Brand Essence Research publication in June 2021, pegged the value at $187.91 billion and expected it to grow to $314.81 billion, at a CAGR of 7.65%. According to the publication, low-cost talent pools in emerging economies coupled with retail and e-commerce would be the engines of growth.

Global Industry Analysts Inc. published a report in August 2021 where they projected the industry to grow to a size of $215.9 billion in 2016 from $161.9 billion in 2020. This growth translated to a CAGR of 5.2%.

Grand View Research Inc., in a report published in April 2021, has projected an 8.5% CAGR till 2028 which would make the size of the industry $435.89 billion. The drivers of growth, according to this research, would be the increased preference of new-age organizations to outsource non-core functions, as well as the need to drive costs down to remain competitive.

Technology is the great multiplier. It creates scale. Hence, ensuring technological currency is a key enabler that oWorkers achieves through its partnership with technology providers. These technologies are available to them even for the use of client projects.

 

What should we expect in the future of business process outsourcing?

OK, so most analysts and consultants predict strong growth for the industry. That is good news.

But what does that growth look like?

Is HRO going to be the star of tomorrow’s BPO? Or will it be KPO?

Will growth be driven by cost saving? Or will human resource availability be the determinant?

Let us be honest. The few of us who were associated with the industry when globalization and strong growth took off, could hardly have foreseen that social media moderation and data annotation for building AI models would be among the stars of today.

However, analysts must be analysts, and make efforts to peer into the crystal ball and hazard ‘informed’ guesses about what the future might look like for the industry.

What do they say?

Automation

Though the industry professes to do for clients what automation has not been able to, analysts see greater automation in the future of business process outsourcing. In fact, whether it is BPO or any other industry, the effort to automate is an ongoing one.

The reason is simple.

Companies have been trying to automate since time immemorial. Even before the digital age started automation was an ongoing effort, even though it would have looked different. In many cases, what could not be automated was outsourced.

It cannot be that the outsourcers have stopped trying to automate the processes that have been outsourced. Highly unlikely. They are probably continuing their efforts at it.

Now, an additional entity, in the form of a provider, is perhaps also trying to introduce automation in the hope of getting greater traction in sales and greater margins on the income statement. It could be a double-edged sword for providers. Once a technology solution has been introduced, the outsourcer might also be in a position to deploy it.

oWorkers operates out of super secure facilities & protocols for your data security with ISO certifications (27001:2013 & 9001:2015). It is also GDPR compliant.

New business requirements will emerge

Just like social media moderation and AI data annotation could not be foreseen before they arrived, quite possibly the business processes driving demand in future may be yet to be discovered or yet be attached to a business that is making waves.

As confidence levels in BPO services has gone up, the range of services has expanded beyond the standardized and tightly-managed processes where deviations were unacceptable, to processes less well defined where some personality of the doer is acceptable. There is no reason why creative services like designing and writing cannot be the next frontier of BPO.

Preferring to operate with employees, and not freelancers and contractors as some of its competitors seem to prefer, oWorkers retains the flexibility to train and deploy staff based on need as well as in response to emerging trends.  

Omnichannel customer service

What today is practiced by a few large corporations with deep pockets and technology investments, will become commonplace. Multi-skilled resources will be able to handle customer interactions, regardless of the channel they emanate from. New technologies will emerge to support this multi-channel interaction.

Though automation will chip away at the edifice of customer queries, real people to speak to and exchange messages with are not going away anytime soon. It is possible that access to them gets limited by the principal company.

People will be key

People are not going anywhere. They are the driving force of the industry. With increasing complexity of jobs, they will need to keep upgrading to handle a wider variety of issues or more complex ones, or both.

There will also be greater reliance placed on frontline staff members who are interacting with customers or doing transactions. The relevance of this model has already been tested during the outbreak of Covid-19 when BPO staff members were forced to start working from home, almost overnight, and lost the access to the support of supervisors and others that they were used to. In most cases they came out with flying colors. With Covid-19 related uncertainty continuing and work from home becoming a part of the equation, expect frontline staff to play a more important role in the future of business process outsourcing.

Staff, both present and past, rate the company well on external platforms such as Glassdoor, with 4.6 out of 5 being the average.

Geographical expansion will continue

As capacities in existing provider geographies get maxed out, expect the rise of newer geographies. With the internet and telecommunications being what they are, instead of the few (outsourcing locations like the US, UK, Europe, etc.) to few (provider locations like India, Philippines, etc.) mapping, expect a many to many mapping.

With the emphasis gradually shifting to the nature of the service, it is possible that geographical specializations, or centers of excellence, will emerge. Egypt could be the Finance and Accounting hub of the world while Madagascar becomes the hub for Legal Process Outsourcing.

Already operating 24×7 for clients, oWorkers is geared to meeting processing requirements in 22 languages.

Startups will drive growth

Legacy companies had to make a shift from inhouse processing to outsourced processing. Any change requires hurdles to be overcome, hence the adoption was slow.

New age startups are adopting BPOs from the get go. They do not have to go through a round of transitioning from self to a vendor, and all the attendant pains. With the boom in startups, and unicorns being minted every other week, if not day, a significant amount of business from startups is visible in the future of business process outsourcing.

For startups it is a win-win situation. They do not need to build the fixed costs that come with the creation of an inhouse delivery structure. They anyway have small budgets and would rather spend them on business. They are happy to outsource what can be outsourced.

oWorkers brings value in the form of an unmatched price point that results from efficiencies running through its operations. Many clients, especially from the US and Western Europe, calculate savings to the tune of 80% when compared to their pre-outsourcing days. The choice given by oWorkers to clients, of choosing between a dollar per unit of output or dollar per unit of input price is appreciated by most clients.

 

The case for oWorkers

oWorkers is well established as a value creator for its clients. It is also an opportunity creator for the communities where it locates its delivery centers and provides a portal for people from disadvantaged communities to enter the global digital economy.

In the future of business process outsourcing, your work could enable a few more to get that opportunity.

How Automation is Enabling BPOs Overcome Challenges

How Automation is Enabling BPOs Overcome Challenges

How Automation is Enabling BPOs Overcome Challenges

In the third decade of the twenty-first century, the debate is no longer whether business process outsourcing (BPO) can save money and reduce turnaround time for client businesses or not. The debate is, by how much, so entrenched has the industry become and so widely accepted its offerings. Some functional areas, of course, lend themselves more easily to being outsourced, such as document processing, than others.

 

Document Processing and Invoice Processing

Invoice processing could be taken as an example of work entailed by document processing. The e-invoicing journey published by Bruno Koch Billentis estimated that in 2019, 550 billion invoices were generated. That is a serious amount of invoice issuance. Considering there are 7 billion people in the world, 80 invoices were issued by every individual.

Once issued, invoices would also need to be processed towards eventual payment and settlement. That is where the challenge starts.

Invoice issuance is usually the tail end of a sales or operational process and if often a part of an automated process. It then becomes the starting point of the invoice processing journey for the company receiving it, that has purchased some goods or services from the company raising the invoice. This company is likely to be using technology that is different from the issuer, and hence at least the initial part of the journey is often manual and error-prone. The same report referred above estimates that the delays and errors in this form of invoice processing is costing $60 billion annually, apart from impacting the customer life-cycle and decision-making.

Invoice processing is one of the specializations of oWorkers, a new-age BPO with eight years of experience in the field of data-based BPO services. It is recognized as one of the top three providers in its chosen space, across the world, no mean achievement.

 

BPO emerges as a solution

Business process outsourcing (BPO) has emerged as a savior for many companies that struggle with the manual processes that a document processing requirement entails. It is known and understood that BPOs specialize in breaking down manual processes into simpler tasks, accessing pools of talent that are available at much lower prices than available to clients, putting the two together and getting the job done efficiently while maintaining quality.

However, if a BPO partner simply copies and pastes the client process, they will most likely produce similar, if not identical, results. Hence, a simple lift and shift is not the best solution unless the BPO can add value to it through some form of transformation.

The desired solution is clearly a digital solution that is able to overcome the limitations of manual processing. BPOs have an advantage over their clients as they are better placed to invest in technology and processes as they can aggregate volumes of multiple clients. Individual clients, on the other hand, may not find it a compelling enough ROI to invest in digitalization of invoice processing, as it is not a revenue generator for them.

oWorkers has access to rich talent pools thanks to its pre-eminent position as an employer in local communities that form the catchment area for its delivery centers. This triggers a steady stream of walk-in job applicants. Combined with its training teams, they become a potent force to hire, train and release people to work in their various client processes.

 

Getting used to a new normal

The Covid-19 pandemic has upended many established business models. Work from home, which was a forced model, to begin with, on account of the inability to congregate or travel, has caught on as a model. In the foreseeable future, even assuming the world is fully cleansed of the pandemic, work from home, or, rather, work from anywhere is expected to continue to be a part of the options available to companies and their staff.

That, to be possible, would mean a substantial digitalization of existing manual processes. If an invoice has to be processed, the manual invoice received from the vendor cannot be physically moved from one location to another, but an image or digital information can be. It can be accessed and processed anywhere the internet can be accessed. The location of the processor ceases to be relevant.

oWorkers has been a leader in the transition to work from anywhere for BPO providers. It is armed with access to the latest technology thanks to its deep relationship with various technology creators and providers. Based on this access, and with its history of BPO delivery and development of processes, oWorkers has equipped its employees to operate from anywhere. oWorkers has managed to retain some of its differentiators such as support in over 20 languages, despite people working from home.

 

The challenges of Work From Home

Not that the shift is easy or natural. It requires effort. Moreover, the way many of us have lived makes it difficult to work from home. Assuming much of the processing is done by entry-level or junior operators, it can also be expected that they are likely to be living in more modest accommodation as compared to more senior people, making it difficult to segregate the working space from the living space. And, what if there is more than one person working from home and both have a conference call at the same time?

With BPO workers, who typically are drawn from less expensive talent pools, the issue is likely to be exacerbated. Even the required bandwidth could be a challenge, though telecom companies are rapidly expanding the reach and speed of broadband connectivity, including the last mile and even employers are willing to pay for the upgrade of home networks for ease of access. Questions have also been raised about the company’s ability to protect sensitive information when people are working from home.

These are teething challenges. No doubt solutions will emerge. oWorkers is well-positioned for ensuring data security with its secure facilities and ISO (27001:2013 & 9001:2015) certifications. The fact that it is GDPR compliant is an added plus point.

 

Intelligent Solutions

Automation yes, but not at any cost. The need of the hour is intelligent automation.

What does that mean?

Technologies will keep emerging and evolving. We have recently gone through a huge evolution in telecommunication services riding on the expanding internet. Social media and connection platforms have significantly influenced how people interact with each other. Today there is a huge buzz around the possibilities of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Blockchain technologies and the many applications they can be put to.

Whatever the technology, it needs to have a clear business or real-life application. Till then, it should be considered as an academic construct.

In case of document processing, especially processing of invoices, data entry will remain a critical step. This is because the invoice is issued from a ‘foreign’ system and needs to be ‘uploaded’ or ‘manifested’ onto the system where the document will be processed. Based on the business requirement the technology should be selected. For the case in hand, OCR technologies may have greater application than AI which may become more relevant as the lack of structure in the information increases, like, for instance, on handwritten forms.

Intelligent automation also requires intelligent humans to handle. With an employed workforce, as opposed to the freelancer and contractor workforce of many BPOs, oWorkers is able to train and grow its staff members to supervisory positions. They are rated 4.6 or higher on a scale of 5 on independent platforms such as Glassdoor. Both present and past employees contribute to these ratings.

 

BPO and Technology

Inherently, a BPO partner is well placed to provide quality and service that is over and above what clients can achieve themselves. The reasons are not difficult to see:

For a BPO provider, this is the business that generates revenue for them. Hence, their best minds and resources are employed in this area. For a client, this is a processing cost and often secondary to their main line of business, whatever it might be.

BPO providers can aggregate volumes across clients and, with the help of those volumes, invest in the best technologies and achieve acceptable ROIs. For clients, especially those that are not large corporations, such an investment is often difficult to justify.

Of course, for all investment decisions, an evaluation is of utmost importance. Investing in a document processing solution is no different. Care needs to be taken that the system is not dated and is able to ‘talk’ to other systems for seamless transitions and processing. Data security is always a big concern and should be looked out for. And, of course, ease of use. Technology needs to be used by humans in many cases. Making it easy for humans to understand and operate is important. A wrong selection can set a BPO back by several years, apart from creating financial pressure.

With a large pool of technology companies as clients, including unicorn marketplaces, oWorkers is always on its toes with regard to technology. This awareness and alacrity eventually helps them deliver better on all client assignments.

 

The Future

As organizations seek to recover and find their own new normal after being bruised during the pandemic, the next few months will be important. They are expected to help employees and organizations settle down into a routine once again where they can stop worrying about what will happen tomorrow and instead focus their energies once again on their work.

Intelligent automation promises to be a savior for many, with its promise of enabling work to happen from anywhere, seamlessly. However, the business or real-life relevance will always be an important consideration in the choice of a technology solution, and will need to be taken with care.

For a world that now works 24×7, oWorkers is ready, with each of its global centers set up to handle client timing requirements, any part of day or night. With the able leadership and steadying hand of a management team that brings over 20 years of hands-on industry experience with them, oWorkers looks ahead to the future with confidence.

Covid-19 And Its Lasting Influence on Outsourcing

Covid-19 And Its Lasting Influence on Outsourcing

Covid-19 And Its Lasting Influence on Outsourcing

The birth of Christ has been used as a marker of time for hundreds of years perhaps on account of the lasting influence on mankind, with B.C. standing for the period before Christ.

The Covid-19 pandemic that we have been witness to over the last two years, has also left behind an indelible mark on mankind and wrought fundamental changes in the way we live and work. Some say that it is quite possible at some stage B.C. will begin to mean ‘Before Covid.’

With the heightened fluidity that the pandemic brought in, with workplaces open one day and shut the next, public transport operating one day and closed the next, established models of running a business have gone for a toss. Should we hire more staff to make up for lost productivity or let go of staff as they are not able to deliver? Should we do what we can do remotely and hope for the best or wait for normalcy to return? Companies have been faced with challenging questions.

Each company and business have had to discover anew the thin dividing line between reasonable and unreasonable business practices and ensure that the business is able to run profitably without going overboard in expenditure in order to overcome the challenges introduced by Covid-19, and keep the plates spinning.

oWorkers has continued to lead from the front in these challenging times for the industry. Having been anointed as one of the top three providers in the world for data related BPO (business process outsourcing) services within a short period of 8 years, it has also been instrumental in equipping its staff to operate from home when required.

 

The role of outsourcing

Trust a crisis to help people determine what is important and what is not. The idea of remote work is not new; it has been floated many times by many providers with many clients. However, for one reason or another, it has never found favor. Lack of supervision leading to poor quality, data security issues, inability to meet adherence requirements have been among the reasons, which now sound like excuses, offered.

However, came the pandemic and suddenly remote work seemed to have become the ‘manna from heaven’ that everyone had been wanting to implement but had been prevented by vested interests.

It is no wonder that the role played by outsourcing companies is being looked at with fresh pairs of eyes, and respect. After all, outsourcing providers have been adept at taking work away to far away centers and delivering it back, meeting and exceeding established benchmarks of quality and speed. In possession of the ‘satellite expertise’ that made remote work possible and effective, it is just a small step to working with a distributed workforce that could be working ‘from anywhere.’

Leveraging the expertise in remote working, oWorkers stepped up during the pandemic and kept services for most of its clients active during the worst phases of the lockdown. They were the reason why many clients continued to be within reach for their vast customer franchises spread across the world.

 

The emerging ‘office anywhere’

When the world came to a standstill in the spring of 2020, enterprising outsourcing partners bent over backwards to create platforms and processes, almost overnight, that enabled many clients to continue to be reachable by their customers over telephone and digital media.

And gradually the realizations dawned.

Instead of diminishing, employee engagement showed a marked improvement in people working from home without being under the direct line of sight of a supervisor.

In a familiar, relaxed environment, while saving the time spent on a commute, employees were able to produce work in quality and quantity that exceeded that while working from a physical office.

Needless to say, the issues classified as ‘work-life balance’ substantially reduced over this period.

PWC’s Director of Experienced Recruitment, Sam Ellis, captured the learning from the early days of remote work and stated in 2020 in a Guardian online feature, “Location and where you actually do your work may be less relevant in the future. I think we’ll still come together as a knowledge-based organization to share and collaborate but maybe not all the time.”

Whether it was responding to the placement of greater responsibility, or not being under the constant gaze, whatever the reason, its early success has established remote working as an option both for companies and employees for all time to come.

Having invested in employees, instead of the reliance placed by competition on freelancers and contractors, oWorkers has witnessed payback during the lockdowns enforced by the pandemic. With the familiarity of continuing, employed members who they have invested in, they were able to set up remote work facilities speedily. Staff members also rose to the challenge and took on added responsibility for their employer.

 

The value of a trusted partner

In this new normal, where remote work is expected to be, if not the only way, at least one of the several ways in which companies and individuals will operate, there is immense value in working with an experienced and capable outsourcing partner.

While reduced costs, faster turnaround times and better quality of output are the usual considerations in relying on a partner, there are many benefits that emerge as the partnership blossoms and matures, many of them relating to people and their management.

Hiring

Hiring the right resources is a challenging process in the best of times. While working remotely, the complexity gets multiplied. How does one evaluate a candidate when one is not even able to meet him/her face to face? Where does one ask for the CVs to be submitted? Who goes through the hundreds of CVs that land up for any job?

oWorkers already attracts more walk-in candidates than they can hire. This is because of their position as preferred employers in the community. The walk-in flow also enables them to keep their advertising costs in control as they do not need to attract candidates. Eventually, this gets shared with clients.

Onboarding and training

The challenges only begin with hiring, not end there. While a certain amount of comfort might exist with employees who we have worked with in physical proximity in the past, how does one become connected with new hires who joined after virtual work became a reality? And, how does one get them engaged with the company and its values? Can remote onboarding and training be done as effectively?

With dedicated training teams, and advanced training methodologies like e-learning already in place, training for new hires has continued apace, as has the process of onboarding. The 24×7 operational window that oWorkers offers to clients is also available to employees for their training and onboarding engagements.

Management of work

And eventually, how does one ensure that work does not suffer? That is the end objective, isn’t it? Hiring and onboarding are merely stepping stones that need to be done once. Work, however, is a continuous process. How does one track employee availability and absence? What about adherence? How does one ensure that the employee is available when he/she needs to be?

With a leadership team with several decades of hands-on experience in the industry, oWorkers has evolved performance measures and metrics suitable for a remote work environment and ensured that clients do not suffer as a result of the transition.

 

What you can expect from a quality partner

Committed players in the industry have demonstrated their ability to continue providing the edge, with or without Covid-19, such as:

  • They can offer capacity expansion at short notice. oWorkers, because of its known position of strength in the local communities, can hire up to a hundred additional people with a notice of only 48 hours.
  • A client need not be constrained by local events impacting their business. With centers in three major geographies around the world, oWorkers has the capacity to split client work across different sites. In the event of one site not being accessible due to man-made or natural reasons, the backup site can pick up some of the slack. 
  • Doing the same work for many clients makes many providers specialists in different areas of work. Clients often rely on their expertise and consult them before making changes in processes. Some of the areas of expertise for oWorkers is invoice processing, community moderation and data annotation.
  • With people working from homes and elsewhere, security and confidentiality assume even greater importance, with digital nodes accessing the information being far flung. Would a well-equipped supplier be better equipped to provide assurance of data security and privacy or would a barely equipped one be able to do that better? It is a no-brainer. With secure facilities & protocols and armed with ISO certifications (27001:2013 & 9001:2015), oWorkers is a compelling proposition. What is more, they are also GDPR compliant.
  • Above all, capable partners are adept at handling uncertainty. oWorkers demonstrated leadership at the time of the onset of the pandemic and was amongst the first set of suppliers to equip staff to work from home, with robust processes and systems.

 

Partner with the best

In a global playing field, the opportunities as well as threats could expand.

A supplier who was limited to a certain catchment area for the supply of human resources now has the whole world to look for qualified resources in. At the same time, some resources from their catchment area may also be attracted by other suppliers since location ceases being a constraint. Hence, it makes sense to partner with the best as they will, in turn, be well placed to attract the best talent from anywhere in the world.

Outsourcing partners are fleet-footed creatures, handling a changing environment for business with dexterity. Today’s common services like data annotation for AI projects and community moderation for social media interactions did not even exist when BPO (business process outsourcing) started gaining ground around the world. It is the ability of providers to keep track of changes and adapt their offerings and themselves to stay relevant, that has kept the industry growing.

While cost considerations often drive the choice of a partner, in the long run, partnering with a qualified, able, committed supplier, though expensive on a per unit basis, will usually result in lower expenses over a period of time. Many oWorkers clients talk about saving up to 80% after outsourcing work to them.

8 Important Considerations While Choosing a BPO Partner

8 Important Considerations While Choosing a BPO Partner

8 Important Considerations While Choosing a BPO Partner

The benefits of contracting with a provider of business process outsourcing (BPO) services, like creation of scale, lowering of cost, specialized skills they bring, and many others, are perhaps well known. Business process outsourcing today is a well established and accepted practice for large and small organizations alike, allowing them the freedom to focus on their core business and grow rapidly. Many startups are choosing to go directly to BPOs for specialized skills instead of investing in creating a practice inhouse.

What is not as well known is that several BPO contracts end up in failure, and end up destroying value for the outsourcer instead of creating it. It is surprising because in many such cases both the outsourcer and the partner are successful companies. Still, when the two come together, it results in failure for both.

From the outsourcer’s perspective, this points to the need for a careful evaluation and due diligence while awarding the contract to a partner. What are the considerations that should be uppermost for an outsourcer while selecting a BPO partner?

 

Provider should have domain knowledge and experience

Each industry is unique. Though each company operating within an industry is also unique, with their own set of processes and technologies, it helps to have experience that could be considered similar as it creates a reservoir of organizational learning that comes in handy when handling other projects of a similar nature. Not everything can be documented and included in a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP).

It should be remembered that BPO partners are sought for work that needs human intelligence and interaction. A BPO handling e-commerce related work will know, for example, that there would be certain times during the year when the client will run promotions and volumes would spike up. The possession of this knowledge will position the provider to handle them better, perhaps by keeping a pool of cross-trained staff who could be additionally deployed.

With multiple engagements of a similar nature across different clients, providers are expected to demonstrate their expertise in handling work in that area.

oWorkers specializes in data related BPO services such as invoice processing, social media moderation, data annotation and data entry. It is counted among the top three providers in the world in data related services, a proud achievement.

 

Should be able to scale quickly to handle variable volume flows

While many unexpected situations arise in the life of a company, some of them are welcome events as well which the company facing them would be happy with and handle with glee. An unexpected spike in sales volumes is not a development any company will be unhappy about.

Even the happy unexpected developments bring in their wake the need for effective handling. We don’t want sales enquiries increasing with most of them not being handled. Not only will there be no business value of these calls, the unattended or badly handled calls can also impair the image of the company.

Digital businesses in particular can also scale rapidly making planning efforts.

The partner needs to have the capacity to cater to increased or reduced staffing at short notice so that neither excess volume goes abegging while paid staff sit idle when volumes drop.

As a preferred employer in all the communities it operates its delivery centers from, oWorkers gets a plentiful supply of walk-in talent. While it helps in reducing the cost of advertising to attract talent, it also provides a cache from which people can be selected for various projects, based on their assessed capability and interest. This also results in oWorkers being able to handle short-term volume spikes in client projects by being able to hire an additional 100 people within 48 hours.

 

Quality of work is non-negotiable

While each client will have its own equilibrium between the various benefits they get through outsourcing, generally quality is one aspect that is non-negotiable. Other benefits are welcome, but not at the cost of a drop in quality.

The target partner should be able to demonstrate a track record of investment in employee development and growth. Even a continuing engagement tends to evolve with time, requiring retraining and reskilling of staff

In addition, Quality Assurance (QA) is an established good practice pioneered by leading BPO companies. The Quality team sits outside the Delivery unit and monitors transactions on a sample basis to identify errors and repeated issues. This enables the company to ensure that quality issues are resolved before they impact a client. The QA team should also be acting as the eyes and ears of senior management, enabling them to intervene when required.

oWorkers deploys the classic QA structure, reporting to senior management. The QA team not only checks sample transactions and provides feedback to staff, it also runs improvement projects that are ongoing.

 

Lower cost is a given benefit

BPO providers have a unique model. If they were only doing a copy-paste of what the client does, it is arguable if they would be able to add any value, bringing the fundamentals of the industry into question.

Cost is one of the most visible and transparent parameters in a B2B relationship. It means the same thing to all stakeholders. It is expected by outsourcers that engaging a partner will lower cost.

How is a BPO provider able to provide cost-effective services?

BPOs specialize in breaking complex processes down into simpler ones. This way, they are able to hire less qualified resources, available at lower prices, to do most of the work, creating a price differential.

BPOs do not have a need for expensive real estate in downtown areas. They can operate from anywhere.

BPOs work with talent pools that are invisible to their clients whose comfort zone is sourcing talent relevant for their industry and function. This talent pool, available at a fraction of the cost at which clients hire, undergoes the efficient training programs of partners, and becomes job-ready.

The ability of a target partner to access such talent pools and train them should be evaluated as well as track record reviewed, as it can be expected to deliver a major cost benefit.

Many clients from Western Europe and North America claim savings of almost 80% after outsourcing to oWorkers. Coupled with their transparent pricing model, offering a choice between input and output basis pricing, it is not a surprise that they have satisfied and happy clients from around the world.

 

Required infrastructure services should have backup plans  

It is well known that BPO players have taken delivery centers to the far corners of the world, bringing people closer together and even playing a role in reducing economic disparities across regions.

However, each location is unique in terms of its environment for doing business, even though BPO, with its capacity for job creation, is usually welcomed. It becomes important to not only evaluate the location’s readiness to support, but also the provider’s ability to manage the elements, such as:

  • Adequacy of grid-supplied power and back-up arrangements, if required
  • Availability of local transportation for employees to commute, and alternate pick-up and drop arrangements
  • Access to talent pools in the catchment area
  • Ability to operate a 24×7 shift
  • The proportion of women in the workforce

Working with employees, as oWorkers does, and not freelancers and contractors like some of our competitors, is satisfying and offers flexibility in deployment based on need. oWorkers pays social and local taxes and is set up as a local entity in each of its delivery locations. Employees, both past and present, rate it as 4.6 or more, on a scale of 5, on independent platforms such as Glassdoor. All sites are geared to operate on a 24×7 schedule.

 

Track record of regulatory compliance and financial stability

As a client, what you want is a partner who can focus on the business, and not one who needs to worry about issues arising out of regulatory non-compliance. The partner being evaluated should be able to demonstrate a consistent track record of regulatory compliance such as running a compliant payroll, timely filing of taxation and other returns and compliance with intellectual property and data privacy laws. The partner should also be willing to take responsibility for all compliance related issues that might arise.

It would not be out of place to add here that the company should also have a healthy balance sheet. A financially stressed company is likely to cut corners and avoid investments, saving a few dollars today but causing long-term damage to your brand.

oWorkers has been consistently profitable. It values client data and operates from Super secure facilities & protocols with ISO certifications (27001:2013 & 9001:2015).

 

Open, multi-level communication channels reflect a transparent operation

Multi-level communication is evidence of openness in a B2B relationship. When a vendor allows team members engaged in a client project at various levels to engage freely with counterparts on the client side, it reflects transparency in their operations; they have no dirty secrets that might be inadvertently revealed through a careless remark made by a junior employee. It also reflects confidence in the team as well as operational processes. Hence, a multi-level communication process reflects a vendor in a good light.

At the same time, they should be in a position to commit to a formal communication channel with defined personnel through which all official communication will flow, such as process changes and alerts that can then be cascaded throughout the team members who need that information. And, in the current context, a BPO should be in a position to respond 24×7.

With its policy of working with a multi-cultural and multi-ethnic workforce, oWorkers has an organically developed capability of offering multi-lingual services in over 20 languages.

 

Alignment of culture needed for long-term success

While this may be difficult to define and nail down, an alignment of values between the two organizations seeking a partnership as reflected in the atmosphere at work is important for long-term success. Otherwise, there are many challenges that crop up along the way where divergent views can create a gulf between partners. If the client follows a culture of permitting freedom and flexibility to employees, having a hard taskmaster focused only on output as a BPO provider might create conflict in many situations.

This also becomes important for the client’s brand in engagements where the vendor is the face of the client to the outside world, such as in a Call Center engagement.

The leadership team, with hands-on experience in the industry, leads by example and creates a professional and open work environment that is global in its outlook, where all comers are welcome.

What does Offshore Business Process Outsourcing mean?

What does Offshore Business Process Outsourcing mean?

What does Offshore Business Process Outsourcing mean?

The word ‘offshore’ has been used commonly in many industries to denote a specific type of operation.

Offshore drilling, for example, refers to prospecting below the seabed for petroleum reserves, most commonly drilling on the continental shelves. It is sometimes used in reference to drilling for oil on inland seas and lakes as well. Offshore drilling presents a different set of challenges to those presented by onshore drilling.

Offshore banking refers to a bank that is regulated under an international banking licence. Offshore banks were prohibited from doing business in the jurisdiction of establishment and were understood to be used to secrete away undeclared income as there was an inherent opaqueness built into their operation. Owing to concerns about money laundering and financing of terrorism, governments are trying to make the operations of offshore banks more transparent and regulated.

What is offshore business process outsourcing?

The word ‘offshore’ has an English language meaning to it. According to the Collins English dictionary, offshore means situated or happening in the sea, near to the coast.

While that may be the technical meaning of the word, we will expand the meaning to reflect the common usage in business and industry, which is what our context is. In business and industry, offshore is generally used to refer to anything, location, event, service, that is situated outside the country that is using this term. It could be just a few miles away or it could be five thousand miles away from the borders, it would still be referred to as offshore.

Business process outsourcing, or BPO, as we might already know, refers to a business process being carried out by an entity that is different from the entity in need of its performance. It could be ticketing for an airline being handled by a BPO partner or it could be customer calls of a bank being handled by a BPO partner.

oWorkers has rapidly emerged as a leading provider of business process outsourcing services over a short period of 8 years. In its chosen area of work, that of providing outstanding data based BPO services, it is already counted as one of the top three providers in the world.

 

BPO classification

Offshore business process outsourcing also emerges as part of the classification system of BPOs.

As the industry has grown, so have the methods of classification. Classification is, perhaps, a natural human impulse, despite many gurus telling us not to typecast and straitjacket people and companies. It is a method of information processing. It helps us look for what we need. It keeps the data set within manageable proportions.

What are some of the common methods of classification?

By industry

This is one of the obvious ones. A BPO provides service and support to other companies, for whom those processes may not be the core activity. A BPO could be supporting a retail chain, or it could be supporting an airline. It could be supporting an e-commerce giant or it could be supporting a computer hardware manufacturer. A provider could come to be known as the provider to a particular industry if it has a preponderance of its contracts concentrated on one industry.

Though 85% of our clients are from the broad technology industry, they cover a broad range of vertical domains. The partnership oWorkers has forged with them gives us access to the latest technologies that can be used for client projects.

By function

A function is also known as a horizontal, as opposed to industry which is referred to as a vertical. It is the actual work that is done based on which BPOs are differentiated, if they either choose to, or happen to, have a significant part of their work in one particular area. It could be medical transcription or it could be data annotation. It could be loan collections or it could be telecom line provisioning.

As a preferred employer in all the local communities we operate from, oWorkers is able to not only attract the best talent, but also a steady stream of it, saving significant advertising cost. These resources are trained in the project or function clients have entrusted us with, to ensure we are able to deliver the higher standards that we are associated with.

Based on being customer facing or not

Many BPO activities are customer facing, with Call Centers, perhaps, being the most ubiquitous example. Representatives engaged in this activity need to interact with customers, either by responding to a contact initiated by a customer or reaching out to him/ her, for pushing forward the agenda. These are referred to as front-office BPOs while others, who do not need to interact with customers, are known as back-office BPOs.

Many clients like to offer a standard interface to its customers. With the ability to support clients in 22 languages, oWorkers is a force to reckon with in multilingual services, whether customer facing or otherwise.

By ownership

Many companies seek out third parties to outsource work to while many others prefer to either outsource to another unit of the company or an independent company under the same high-level ownership of the group that owns the outsourcer as well. If the BPO is independent, it is known as a third-party provider. If it is either another unit of the company or an independent company in the same group, it is referred to as a captive BPO. Captive BPOs are increasingly being known as GICs, or global inhouse centers.

All business relationships require sharp pricing. BPO is no different. Many of the clients of oWorkers continue because of the value they find with us. They routinely note saving almost 80% when they compare the pricing to the costs incurred by them prior to the relationship being initiated.

By location

BPOs are classified based on their location with reference to the location of the outsourcer or client. If they are in the same country, they could be referred to as onshore BPOs. Terms like nearshore and same-shore could also apply in some cases. A BPO located in a different country is known as an offshore business process outsourcing outfit.

Operating from three distinct global locations, oWorkers is deeply embedded in local communities. We pay local and social taxes for our employees, preferring the employment model over the contractor and freelancer models preferred by some of our competitors.

 

Locational basis of BPOs explored

Today a BPO can be located anywhere. Anywhere there is availability of suitable people. Anywhere that has access to the internet. Anywhere there is power supply and availability of computing devices. Anywhere there is reasonable rule of law and business agreements are honored. Which means…anywhere in the world.

It can be located right next door to the outsourcer, as was perhaps the case with earliest versions of outsourcing when companies sought cheaper real estate that was not too far away. It can be located in another state, further afield, to access larger talent pools and real estate even more inexpensive. Or it can be located in another geography, continent, country; anywhere.

Why?

Because it can be. Advancements in telecommunications and software technologies have unhinged the BPO industry from its physical moorings, enabling them to set up ship wherever they find it suitable to.

When distinguished based on its location, some of the common forms that emerge are:

Domestic business process outsourcing

This classification refers to BPO work being done for clients situated within the boundaries of the country where the processing center is situated. A BPO center located in the US that processes accounts receivables for a client’s business in the US, is referred to as a domestic BPO. If the same provider has a center in India which supports a different, India-based client, that will also be referred to as a domestic BPO activity, even though the two processing centers belong to the same company.

This could be further broken down into state-level work as well, but that is not common practice, since business regulations typically apply at a country level.

Our staff, both past and present, are our best resources and representatives. They rate us over 4.6, on a scale of 5, or above, on independent platforms like Glassdoor.

International business process outsourcing

If the BPO provider’s center located in the US was delivering services to the client in India and the center in India to the client in the US, they would both be referred to as international business process outsourcing.

This is also often referred to as offshore business process outsourcing, as we will also cover a little later in this piece.

International business process outsourcing operations tend to work for creating greater balance in the distribution of wealth across nations and communities by taking the work of richer nations to be performed in less wealthy nations. This creates opportunity and employment in the developing nations while moderating pricing for such services in the wealthy nations.

With our ISO certification (27001 :2013 & 9001:2015) as well as GDPR compliance, oWorkers adheres to the highest standards of data security that for many of our global clients is an essential requirement.

Nearshore business process outsourcing

This is an extension of the domestic BPO. Domestic BPO defines activities that are carried out within the geographical boundaries of the outsourcing nation. Nearshoring takes it a step further and brings servicing locations that are contiguous, or located nearby, even though they may not be located within the same political boundaries. The outsourced work of companies in the US being done in Mexico, or the work of German outsourcers being done in Poland, could be examples of nearshore BPO.

The impetus for nearshore could be greater cultural alignment with populations in closer proximity such as language, or greater need for interaction between the outsourcer and vendor requiring time zone alignment, while delivering standard BPO benefits such as cost savings and business knowledge.

The strong presence in local markets gives oWorkers the flexibility to cater to short-term, unexpected spikes in client volume that would otherwise require an expensive bench to be retained. With our presence, we can hire an additional 100 resources within a matter of 2 days.

Farshore business process outsourcing

Offshore business process outsourcing could be known by many names; farshore is one of them, though slightly more specific.

While offshore could refer to any provider location situation outside national boundaries, farshore would mean a location that is reasonably distant; in other words, one that is not nearshore. There are no clear markers or standards to say what is considered nearshore and what is considered offshore. It would probably be sufficient to say that a location reasonably distant to have differences in culture and language could be considered to be farshore. However, this is not a definition cast in stone. Judgment would be required.

With the different time zones that our clients operate in, having a 24×7 operation becomes important to cater to client requirements. All centers of oWorkers are equipped to provide this facility to clients.

Offshore business process outsourcing

This is the classical business process outsourcing example. This is also the most frequently used term in that context, rather than some other close ones like international BPO and farshore BPO.

This is the term used to refer to business process services that are outsourced to a provider who is situated overseas. This could encompass both nearshore and farshore, as the provider location could be anywhere in the world. There are many examples of providers, especially in the case of third parties, taking client processes to newer locations as they expand, of course in consultation and agreement with the client.

Most elements of an outsourcing engagement come into play in an offshore arrangement, such as availability of suitable manpower, difference in labor cost, support from provider government and possible financial incentives.

With a management team that has hands-on experience in the industry of over 20 years, your business is in good hands with oWorkers.

Onshore business process outsourcing

There are many terms used in the description and classification of BPO services. Onshore business process outsourcing is another one. It closely resembles domestic business process outsourcing and the two could be used interchangeably.

That being said, domestic BPO is the more commonly used term, preferred over onshore, which is seen more as a descriptor of what offshore business process outsourcing is not.

Whichever model of business process outsourcing is suitable for you, the oWorkers solutions will create value. We even offer you the choice between input based and output based pricing models.

What are the fundamentals of business process outsourcing?

What are the fundamentals of business process outsourcing?

What are the fundamentals of business process outsourcing?

Today we take the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry to be a given, a fact of life, much like electricity and buildings and oceans. And we start from there, whether we are a provider who delivers on client requirements or an outsourcer looking for a solution.

Which is not a bad place to be. After all, one cannot always start with first principles. One has to trust other people enough to take many things as given. You are not going to build the internet from scratch, will you? You have to take it as a given resource that you can leverage, like so many millions of others, for your own unique requirements, in this case of running a BPO engagement.

While that may well be the position you adopt as you go about creating value for your company by either exploring opportunities for outsourcing business processes, or identifying potential clients your outsourcing business can support, an understanding of the moving parts of the business equips you to handle various challenges that are bound to arise in any human endeavor.

The same should be the case for participants in the BPO industry, whether client or provider. An understanding of the fundamentals of business process outsourcing will equip you to take the right decision when faced with a challenging situation.

oWorkers has come up the curve in the last eight years since it launched operations, rooted in the fundamentals. It should not be a surprise that it is now, already, recognized as one of the three top providers of data based BPO services in the world.

So, what are these fundamentals?

 

Free Market

We often take it as a given, and we must, but the free market that is prevalent in most societies has unshackled opportunities for large sections of the population. It is often said that the prosperity of the western world is underpinned by the free market that exists in these societies.

What is a free market?

The economic definition of a free market according to Wikipedia is that of “a system in which the prices for goods and services are self-regulated by buyer and sellers negotiating in an open market. In a free market, the laws and forces of supply and demand are free from any intervention by a government or other authority, and from all forms of economic privilege, monopolies and artificial scarcities.

Of course, this is a theoretical, or ideal, definition. There is some amount of intervention from the government in these societies, mostly for making efforts for uplifting the lot of the underprivileged. But, by and large, it is a free market.

What that means to a business is that it can seek value in any way it wishes to, of course within the boundaries defined by law and society. This has permitted organizations to explore innovative ways of doing business, providing the impetus for BPO to grow and spread across the world.

oWorkers enables free market participants to break their shackles and seek exponential growth by focusing on their core business and letting oWorkers do the rest. The 24×7 support that oWorkers support works has the capacity to magnify outsourcing benefits for its clients.

 

Fundamentals of business process outsourcing include an enforcement framework

Rules are of no use if they cannot be enforced. An enforcement mechanism and a legal framework are necessary for rules to be enforced, otherwise they remain a paper exercise.

Societies that practice a free market, also have a legal and enforcement system in place that creates laws and defines penalties for violation.

From the perspective of business, this creates an environment in which companies can work with other companies, individuals and government entities under the auspices of the legal framework that operates in their jurisdiction, without having to worry about creating a parallel enforcement system that protects their company against the misconduct of the other party.

Business to business (B2B) engagements, which BPO engagements usually are, often rely on a contract between the two parties that defines the responsibilities of each and needs to be agreed by both parties before performance can be initiated.

It is this legal and enforcement framework that gives confidence to the two contracting parties to engage without fear of being cheated by the other party. It is particularly important in the BPO environment because the engagements often happen across countries and continents. They work on creating value for the business with the right to resort to the authorities in case of need.

The leadership team of oWorkers, with over 20 years of hands-on experience between them, takes upon themselves the task of worrying about contracts and enforcement, should something go wrong. They leave the operations staff to do what they can do best, deliver services to the requirements of their clients.

 

Economic differences

Though we have established a free market as one of the enabling fundamentals of business process outsourcing, the truth is that it does not make everyone equal. Far from it. It often tends to exacerbate the gap between the haves and the have nots with their different abilities to leverage the opportunities in the environment.

We know water always flows from higher ground to lower ground.

Similarly, BPO work tends to flow from higher ground to lower ground, or, from greater prosperity to lower prosperity.

What is the reason?

BPO vendors provide operational support. They do not propose to take over the entire business of the client, who continues to handle what he would consider to be their core activities. BPO vendors have excelled in converting client work to small packets of repeatable work. As this work may not require the same kind of education, skills and experience as the core business might, it is often migrated to locations where one can find adequately skilled resources at a lower level of cost.

The result is that work flows from the more expensive location to less expensive locations, creating employment there and taking a step towards reducing the economic disparity between the two. This is one of the great benefits BPO delivers to developing economies and one of the reasons political reasons make efforts to get BPOs to set up shop in their catchment area.

oWorkers locates its delivery centers in some of the most work-conducive cities in the world. With its policy of working with a multicultural and multinational team, it is able to provide multilingual support to its clients, a key concern for growing companies.

 

Technology and telecommunications

The reason BPO today has reached all corners of the world today is the explosion in telecommunications technologies, including the internet and computing devices. There is more computing power in the device in your hand than used to exist in a room full of machines in the sixties and seventies. Advances in digital technology have made BPO the global force that it is today.

Just as it liberates, technology can also create challenges. With increasing volumes of data being transacted over telecommunications networks, the security of data remains a concern for companies, data being a key asset and differentiator in today’s world.

On the one hand, the large complement of clients being technology companies, keeps oWorkers on its toes with regard to technology adoption.

On the other hand, their relationship with technology companies, nurtured over many years, gives them access to the latest technologies which they can even use for client projects.

 

Access to deep talent pools

Eventually, the business needs people to run it.

It is no doubt true that BPO vendors are skilled and resourceful. As BPO work is their source of revenue, they make efforts at improving the underlying processes and technologies. Some vendors have even been successful in creating platforms that clients themselves could not create.

But all said and done, if it could be automated by the client, he has already done it. What he now needs the vendor for is work that needs to be done manually. And this can only be done if the vendor has access to talent pools that are capable enough for doing the work that clients wish to outsource, and inexpensive enough for the client to find value in the outsourcing. This, after many years, has remained one of the fundamentals of business process outsourcing.

A corollary requirement that arises for most BPOs is that of backfill; the requirement to again hire for the same position on account of staff attrition. Attrition continues to be one of the bugbears of the industry and a drain on resources.

With its prominent position in local communities, oWorkers gets a steady stream of applications for jobs. This not only provides them a choice of talent for client projects, but also provides flexibility in covering unexpected spikes in client volumes, with an ability to add almost a hundred additional resources within 48 hours. This creates a big cost advantage for the client who would otherwise need to retain a bench.

 

Ability to train

Having access to the talent pool is one aspect, making it ready for client work is quite another. BPO providers have, over the years, excelled in preparing raw talent to handle the most intricate transactional and operational requirements of clients from across the world.

Training has emerged as an unlikely hero for the BPO industry. Not only does it polish raw talent, it also keeps ensuring that experienced resources keep their saws sharpened at all times.

oWorkers controls resource input by instituting strong screening checks designed to ascertain IQ, EQ and language skills of candidates. The training team then takes over and works on them to make them job ready.

 

Flexibility to work from home

We may not have been talking about it a couple of years back. Work from home may have been on the wish list of many, but never implemented. However, the onset of Covid-19 shook the fundamentals of business process outsourcing and forced the industry to go where it had not gone before. In other words, start working from home, to overcome the lockdowns and restrictions placed by governments worldwide to halt the march of the pandemic.

To the credit of the industry, it turned on a dime and stood tall when most needed. Its readiness to adapt during the stressful times enabled many a supported business to stay connected to its customers. They put together a technology infrastructure that was needed to support people working from home and implemented it, even while the pandemic was raging across the world.

It is now a given.

oWorkers has been at the forefront in the race to equip staff to work from home and ensuring that clients are on board with the approach. The fact that it is ISO certified (27001:2013 & 9001:2015) and GDPR compliant also creates confidence amongst clients.

 

Managing the external environment

While technology and human resources are must-haves without which a BPO business will not survive, there are many other pieces in the jigsaw that need to come together at the right place for the business to be successful. To that extent, these could also be considered as fundamentals of business process outsourcing.

What are these pieces?

Location – A BPO enterprise, with its need for people, works best with the support of the local communities. It is helpful if the community is supportive of the unique requirements of a BPO job, such as a 24×7 shift. It is also helpful to have a community that is supportive of female employment, as that substantially enhances the hiring pool.

Infrastructure – For a business to operate there are many infrastructural elements needed. There is a need for space for setting up an office, grid supplied power to run the computers and cooling or heating devices depending on the climate, food and water for workers, local transport through which people can commute, etc. Some may have alternatives but some may be essential.

oWorkers embeds itself into local communities and works with them for mutual benefit. The results are there for all to see. Kit pays social and local taxes for its staff who, incidentally, are employees, and not freelancers or contractors.

 

Cost saving

All roads lead to the Income Statement.

Fundamentals of business process outsourcing mandate that the client should achieve a cost benefit by doing so.

And he does. While the many other advantages of BPO may be difficult to measure, the cost advantage is not. It emanates from the inexpensive locations that the partner operates from. It emanates from the resources they hire. It emanates from the many operational innovations through process and technology improvement they do that delivers a benefit of cost to the client.

Clients of oWorkers often note saving almost 80% of their original costs once they have outsourced to oWorkers. This is especially true for clients from Western Europe and the US. On top of that, clients are delighted by the pricing choice they get from oWorkers. They can choose to pay by output, or by input. They decide what works better for them.

What are the advantages of business process outsourcing

What are the advantages of business process outsourcing

What are the advantages of business process outsourcing

The business process outsourcing industry, BPO in short, has grown and grown and grown. Most analysts with a crystal ball predict the industry to continue its strong growth over the next few years, even as models change and requirements change.

The consistent growth demonstrated by the industry cannot be an accident. It has to be the result of value created for its various constituents. In a world of private enterprise, the primary constituent is perhaps the customer, the one who pays for the services of the industry. It has to be of value to the clients who use BPO. The other constituencies to whom the industry delivers benefits are the regulators and governments of the various geographies they operate in as well as the workforce they employ through whom their services are delivered.

It is quite a varied set that BPO appears to be delivering benefits to. While discussing the advantages of business process outsourcing, we will begin with the difference they are able to make to regulators and governments, as that, perhaps, is not merely an economic benefit but could be classified as a social benefit as well.

Innovative BPO providers like oWorkers are creating value in areas legacy providers have been slow to enter into, like content tagging for AI models and social media moderation. In its eight years of being of service to global clients, oWorkers is already counted as one of the top three providers globally, not a mean achievement.

 

Generating employment

In today’s world, in most cases, economic activity seems to be driven by urban centers. Non-urban centers and communities often get left behind in the development march. The gap appears to be even more acute in developing nations which is where BPO centers get set up in most cases.

Business process outsourcing has the capacity to make a substantial impact on this status quo. BPO has a unique model through which it creates jobs that require limited skills that can be replicated. In other words, these jobs do not require advanced qualifications or skills but the numbers of people required are large. This becomes an almost ideal combination to hire people from disadvantaged communities who do not possess advanced skills and qualifications but, with the training provided by the employer, have the willingness to learn and commit to the job.

While these jobs are not highly paid, they do create employment in large numbers, which is why many administrations and governments seek out BPOs to set up delivery centers in their constituencies.

Working closely with local communities sets oWorkers up as a credible employer and draws a steady stream of candidates looking for a career in BPO. It helps that oWorkers follows a policy of working with employed resources, and not with freelancers and contractors like some of its competitors do. Being a magnet for talent supports a low-cost hiring model as it does not need to spend on advertising to attract applicants.

 

Cost advantages of business process outsourcing

Moving on to the business advantage, every business seeks to increase revenue and decrease cost. No other method has been discovered that increases profits, the final goal of a business, as effectively as increasing revenue and decreasing cost.

While a business has many initiatives it undertakes to enhance revenues, one of the strategic goals business process outsourcing enables it to move towards is cost containment.

How is that?

Revenue being the driver of a business, costs are set up to feed into the revenue generating opportunities the business locates. They may not be geared to be most optimal for the business.

Efficient delivery being the leitmotif of a BPO, it sets itself up in an economical manner. It is nowhere more evident than in its staffing, since most work is handled through people. While the client may be handling delivery through similar highly qualified, and expensive resources that it hires for the revenue side, a provider gets down to the basics and employs people with just enough to deliver effectively.

This, coupled with not needing to locate in downtown areas or even major urban centers, creates a significant cost advantage. Additionally, with outsourcing costs can be handled as variable costs to an extent, and reduced when requirement reduces.

Most clients of oWorkers talk about saving numbers that go all the way up to 80%. This is the saving when measured against their cost pre-outsourcing. The efficient management, like negligible expenditure of advertising for talent, eventually finds its way into the pricing offered to clients.

The pricing choice between dollars per unit of output and dollars per unit of input offered to clients is another unique oWorkers offering that is appreciated by many clients.

 

Focus on core activities

Businesses could be set up because of the skills and interest of a core group of people, or based on the opportunities available, or other reasons. Whether you are a maker of microchips or a retailer, there are many activities your business needs to perform that are not necessarily related to the core business.

Why is that?

There are two main reasons.

One is that the business is a participant in a competitive marketplace and has to put its best foot forward when it needs to interact. For example, it needs to hire resources. Being in a marketplace, there are many other companies who are trying to do the same. Hence, it becomes competitive. To navigate these marketplaces, which may have nothing to do with your core business, requires time, effort and skill.

The second reason is regulation. Most regulated economies will have laws that require you file your tax returns, keep accounts in a certain manner, ensure your workplace is not hazardous for staff members and others, and a host of others.

While the company’s staff may have the skills, or may be able to develop them, it will mean that they are not focusing on their core activities for that much time. Engaging a partner ensures that the focus of key personnel does not waiver from their core business.

With its approach of working with a multicultural and multinational staff, being multilingual is a natural by-product for oWorkers who is able to support clients in over 20 languages, and be a partner as they grow across geographies.

 

Advantages of business process outsourcing include specialization and expertise

Another advantage that is based on the same set of circumstances as described above is the access to expertise for these activities through a BPO provider since engaging in them, hiring of resources, filing tax returns, might not be the core competence of your employees.

Engaging a BPO provider gives you access to specialized talent that is geared to that very task. It is their bread and butter. Since it is a source of revenue it receives management attention. They are also likely to keep themselves updated on the latest developments so that the job that is done by them is accurate and compliant.

This instead of having to ‘make do’ with unenthusiastic resources, you get skilled and enthusiastic resources for whom it is core work.

Not only enthusiastic resources, oWorkets will also be able to provide them at short notice, to support unexpected volume peaks for clients. As an example, oWorkers is normally in a position to provide a hundred additional resources in 48 hours.

 

Investments in technology and processes

Not being on the revenue side of a company’s income statement has some disadvantages, the main one, seemingly, of not being able to get adequate attention from senior management. Your non-core function is a core business process for your outsourcing partner and the source of revenue, the reason for their existence.

They want to do their core job in the best possible manner, like any other company. They have the ability to invest in technologies and process improvements that their clients may be loath to. The BPO also has the added advantage of being able to aggregate volumes across clients for the same, or similar processes, which, perhaps, facilitates the investment decisions. In fact, there are examples of providers investing in platforms that have enabled them to win clients and their clients to get the benefit of superior technologies.

oWorkers has nursed relationships with leading technology providers for the purpose of being able to access the latest technologies for client projects, that clients otherwise may not have access to.

 

Business continuity

One of the advantages of business process outsourcing, especially when you work with an established player, is that of business continuity.

Whether the client had a business continuity plan or not, they can certainly ask that the partner provide it to them. Established BPO providers usually operate through a network of delivery centers. For contracts that are critical, they can distribute volumes in a way that the entire business does not need to shut even if one of the centers is unable to operate for reasons of a natural event or a strife of some sort.

The recent Covid-19 epidemic is a stellar example of how BPOs rose to the challenge placed on all businesses because of restriction of meeting and travel. It is thanks to the efforts of BPO providers that many businesses managed to stay afloat during the period and were accessible to customers.

With its geographically distributed delivery centers in some of the most sought-after locations, oWorkers is able to provide business continuity for situations that may impact one of their centers making it inaccessible or inoperative. By splitting volume across sites, clients can be reasonably assured of at least one site being up and running.

Additionally, as a pioneer of ‘work from home’ since the Covid-19 pandemic struck, all oWorkers staff members are able to operate from home or office, as per the situations obtaining at any point in time.

 

TAT improvement

The global delivery model that has bloomed over the last two decades, maybe more, in itself is one of the inherent advantages of business process outsourcing.

One of the advantages is the time difference.

How does that help?

If the time difference is large, it could enable work to be carried out by the partner while the client is sleeping after a day’s work. When they begin work the next morning, they will find that the assigned work has been completed by the partner overnight. Seemingly magically.

Additionally, as a part of their flexible DNA, most vendors are equipped to operate on a 24xy schedule, where client work requires it. Thus, going beyond the time difference advantage, this helps the required work to be completed faster.

While time zone differences might naturally improve response times, oWorkers’ operations machinery is geared to work on a 24×7 schedule, if required by clients. This can significantly reduce cycle times and improve turnaround times.

 

Skilling and opportunity opening

For many people in disadvantaged communities, BPO often turns out to be a gateway to the digital economy of the world. Through its rigorous process of selection and training, BPOs pick out trainable candidates and put them through a training program designed to hone their skills and make them ready for an identified client project.

BPO continues to be one of the highest creators of white-collar jobs around the world. It has made a significant contribution to the GDP of some nations that are popular delivery centers.

oWorkers leads with its best foot forward. It leverages its expertise in data based BPO work to create opportunities for work around the world. Its leadership team, with a combined hands-on experience of over 20 years, are at the forefront whenever new ground is broken.

 

Disadvantages of business process outsourcing

Data security – Business data needs to be shared with the vendor without which many processing activities cannot be completed. Data being compromised is an ever-present risk.

Alignment with brand – Every company has a unique identity. Can employees of a BPO partner ever fully align with the client identity? This becomes important in situations when the vendor interacts with customers of their client.

Hidden costs – Some outsourcers do not give adequate attention to the processes and expenses that might result from their outsourcing decision. Sometimes costs are not adequately factored in, leading to some nasty surprises.

Loss of control – In cases where the complete process has been outsourced, there could be some issues of lack of control. You may want to do something but the partner might push back citing the contract. The partner could also leverage change requests to make the conditions of the contract more difficult.

Though we have discussed several advantages of business process outsourcing, an overview of the disadvantages provides a more complete perspective.

 

The oWorkers advantage

For the security of client data, oWorkers operates out of super secure facilities and protocols and is ISO certified (27001:2013 & 9001:2015). oWorkers is also GDPR compliant. It has a rigorous selection and training process to make employees fit for client projects. It is not a surprise that it is chosen as a partner by large corporations around the world, which includes several unicorn marketplaces as well as a healthy proportion of technology companies. They consider working with leading organizations around the world an honor and privilege.